8 Immune System Boosting Foods


In our efforts to go a whole cold and flu season without succumbing to illnesses that can leave us listless and miserable for weeks, many of us will go to great lengths to avoid getting ill. We'll boost our vitamin intake, wash our hands obsessively, and we may even get a flu shot. Yuck!

We can increase our resistance to the germs that can cause colds and the flu by boosting our immune system. And we don't need fancy, expensive superfoods to do it either. Many common foods contain potent immune boosting components. Try adding some of these into your diet today!

1. Oatmeal

That's right! Start your morning off with a bowl full of oatmeal and you'll be giving your immune system a burst of beta-glucan, a fiber that contains potent antimicrobial and antioxidant power that research shows may decrease your risk of coming down with the flu.

Read more about the health benefits of oatmeal

2. Tea

Warming up with a cup of tea is not only a soothing ritual in the cooler months, but it may also protect you from the germs that can cause colds and the flu. Green tea in particular is loaded with antioxidants that can increase your resistance to bacteria and viruses.

3. Sweet Potatoes

Those gorgeous autumn and winter root vegetables contain more than just great flavor. They're also an excellent source of beta carotene which keeps your skin strong and healthy and capable of fighting off the bacteria that can sneak in through the epidermis.

4. Bell Peppers

They're more than just a pizza topping. Peppers contain even more vitamin C than oranges! Vitamin C is crucial in strengthening the body's immune function and can help unfriendly invaders from taking over.

5. Turmeric

Make curries a regular part of your meals and you're adding more than just fantastic flavor. Turmeric, the spice that gives curry its yellow color is one of the strongest antioxidants around. It contains curcumin, a polyphenol with strong cold and flu fighting properties that has been shown to reduce the risk of coming down with a cold or the flu and helping to fight it off if you do become infected.

6. Ginger

The nobby ginger root is a miraculous superfood. It's loaded with gingerol which is a compound that can help reduce your risk of getting infected with common illnesses. It can also help decrease the inflammation and congestion that usually accompanies the common cold or flu. And it's an excellent weapon against nausea. Of course, it tastes amazing too!

7. Broccoli

This common vegetable is loaded with vitamins such as A,C, and E which strengthen immune function. It's also an excellent source of glucosinolates which can play a crucial role in keeping the immune system strong and effective at fighting off germs.

Read more about how to add more broccoli into your diet

8. Garlic

While I personally loathe the clove, garlic is one of nature's most powerful immune enhancers. It's loaded with allicin, a potent antioxidant that can enhance your immune function and help you get rid of a cold or flu a lot quicker. As soon as you feel it coming on, up your garlic intake, and it should disappear rather quickly.

These are all great tasting foods that can keep your immune system boosted. Stay healthy!

Keep in touch with Jill on Twitter @jillettinger



Image: Republic of Korea

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By Jill Ettinger| January 21, 2015
Categories:  Eat

About the Author

Jill Ettinger

Jill Ettinger

Jill Ettinger is a freelance journalist and marketing specialist primarily focused on the organic and natural industries, she bridges her love for changing the food system with her lifelong passion for writing and connecting people in their shared values. You can connect with Jill on Twitter and Instagram.

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